Tuesday, 27 May 2014

A tale of two Springbanks

Around a year ago, I bought a bottle of Springbank 10 on the back of a whisky-fuelled pub crawl to celebrate my friend's birthday. During the shenanigans that Saturday night, I was bought a dram of this Campbeltown whisky and, after careful consideration, I announced to the assembled crowd that, come pay day, a bottle would be mine.
    I kept my promise, brought the bottle home, uncorked it, poured a dram, settled down... and didn't like it. I say I didn't like it, but that's not really accurate. The truth is, I couldn't quite get to grips with it. I lacked much-needed whisky knowledge and so after wrestling valiantly with a quarter of the bottle, I decided to put it away until such times when I could appreciate the liquid properly.
    Well, I'm glad to say that between then and now, my whisky knowledge has expanded considerably - the amount of empty bottles and sample bottles is testament to that - and going back to it a few months ago was a much more enjoyable experience. I loved it and after polishing off the bottle with a few friends, I decided to explore this fabulous distillery a little more and promptly bought a bottle of the cask strength 12 year old back in April.
    So, without further ado, here's what I thought about both bottles.

Springbank 10 - 46%
The nose is sweet and smoky with a sliver of peat, cut grass, barley sugars, boiled fruit sweets, sharp green apples, lime juice, hard Thornton's toffee, orange zest and tangerine. A slight saltiness also makes itself known and gives this a wonderful character.
    On the palate, it’s oily, with flashes of lemon, peat, prickly spices, golden syrup, honey and crushed black peppercorns.
    The finish was just as intriguing as the nose and the palate, with a slight sourness combined with raisins, oak, vanilla, sea salt and dried hay.

Springbank 12 cask strength - 50.3%
As soon as I poured a generous dram, I immediately got malty wafts which reminded me of buttered toast smothered in rich orange marmalade. The surprises didn't stop there either, with smoke, delicious salted caramel, dates and cranberry juice coming through. After around 20 minutes in the glass, I picked up fruits of the forest yoghurt which sounds bizarre but it's definitely in there - well, at least to my nose!
    This 12 year old has a lovely sweet character which comes through on the arrival, which is swiftly followed by toffee, caramel, hints of woody coconut and the unmistakable flavours of a Terry's dark chocolate orange.
    The finish is long and rich, with sweet and salty notes battling it out on the back of the tongue. Cinnamon makes itself known, while a green herbal note rounds it all off beautifully.

This distillery has earned a special place in my heart and I really enjoyed both bottles - even though it took me a year to get my head around the quirky and complex tastes and aromas. Since my experiences with the 10 and 12, I recently sampled the 18 year old - which was spellbinding - and I'll be taking a closer look at some others in the range later this year.

1 comment:

  1. Timely review. :) I find so many things going on flavor wise with Springbank that it certainly takes me a good number of sessions to tease out as many impressions as I can. Wonderful stuff and great review.

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